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Sep 19, 2008 10:18 AM

Batali's Meatballs with Ricotta in Milk -- anyone made this??

I'm thinking of trying Batali's Meatballs with Ricotta in Milk this weekend (Molto Italiano, p 398), which he calls "lactic love bombs." WOW. They sound delicious (ground pork and veal, ricotta, a little parm, pistachio nuts, even a few cornichons). The meatballs are browned and then brought to a boil in sotock and milk and cooked for about 15 minutes more.

They're served in what he calls "a 'broken' white sauce." I don't care how it looks (he says it "may seem strange to American sensibilities") but I wonder how that will appear b/c my date might get scared. LOL!

Has anyone made this? How does it taste? How does it look? I mean, love bombs sound PERFECT for a romantic dinner... just would like some tips or a review.

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  1. They are excellent. The sauce does break a bit such that there are pools of oil and the color is a little tan, but the taste, especially with the cornichons, is excellent. Love bombs maybe doesn't mean anything to me, but think rich meatballs and a rich sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tazerowe

      Do you have any ideas in terms of what else to serve alongside? I was thinking gnocchi in a different sauce, but maybe there's enough broth that the gnocchi could just soak it up??

      1. re: foxy fairy

        I would serve something light to contrast, such as an Italian preparation of sauteed greens like chard with a little wine or vinegar and pancetta or raisins. Or broccolini with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes. Or a nice salad.
        And a loaf of crusty bread or toast to sop up the tasty sauce!

    2. I made these this weekend and they were very good but could have been even better. The mixture was so wet that the meatballs fell apart when forming and trying to brown them. Next time I will make the mix in the morning and chill it so it holds together better, as well as browning in two batches so I have more room for maneuver. I would also increase the cornichons from 6 to 8, and the pistachios (which the recipe says 3 but I figured was a typo and used 1 T) to 2 T. I think I will also saute some onions after browning the meatballs and before adding the liquid. Having said all that these were very good and a bit different and also reheated very well. I served with steamed coarse bulgar (tasty but made for monochromatic presentation) and farmers market green beans. I think Mellicita's side suggestions might be better.

      6 Replies
      1. re: GretchenS

        How did you like the broth/sauce that went with these meatballs? I noticed that cornichons are a little pricey... I'm on a budget and don't feel like shelling out $5 for a jar of those for one tiny element of a recipe. What else could I substitute, I wonder? I was laughing, imagining Mario's horror at me chopping up Vlasic Kosher Dill spears... just kidding :)

        Also -- are they actually "love bombs"??

        1. re: foxy fairy

          If you have a trader joes nearby they have cornichons at rock bottom prices. I always stock because I love them with cheese plates.

          1. re: Frobisher

            They do last seemingly forever as well, as long as they are covered in the brine. I like the Maille brand, and they are handy to have around to serve with pate as well, or in a gribiche (sp?) sauce, etc.

          2. re: foxy fairy

            Yes TJ's cornichons are a good deal. For me cornichons are one of those luxuries I can't give up, they are too good with too many things so they are always in my fridge. But I think chopping your favorite pickle, the tangier the better, might work if I can't sell you on cornichons.

            The sauce was fine (especially because I used rich homemade chicken stock) -- there actually wasn't that much of it and it kind of disappeared into the bulgar. I don't really think it would be off-putting to anyone.

            "Love bombs"? Hmm, can't offhand think of anything I would call that. They were mighty darn tasty but you know, now that I think about it, the Giant Veal and Ricotta Meatballs in Molly Stephens All About Braising might come closer to being love bombs -- I seem to remember more moaning over them than these. (Now I want those but there's probably a law against making two meatball recipes in the same week, huh?)

            1. re: GretchenS

              Gretchen, now I want those too, and I like the idea of giant meatballs, as my date recently requested meatloaf, so this might be closer to the mark. I am going to request All About Braising (COTM before I knew about chow!) from the library RIGHT NOW! thanks for that tip :)

              1. re: foxy fairy

                Here's the link to the COTM discussion about the beef and veal recipes in All About Braising. Go down to the last 4 or 5 posts to read about the meatballs. Good luck!